New Delhi- In a recent announcement on Monday, Google revealed the second edition of the GNI Startup Lab, a program aimed at supporting high-quality reporting for local communities, niche audiences, and previously underserved communities across India. Among the 10 media organizations selected for this edition is The Mooknayak, as announced by Swetha Susan Elias on social media.
GNI Startup Lab, a 12-week catalyst program in collaboration with Google News Initiative, AnyMind Group, and T-Hub, focuses on helping the next generation of independent, early-stage Indian news startups achieve financial and operational sustainability. The selected startups, chosen from a pool of over 110 applicants, cover a diverse range of journalism categories, including investigative, political, medical, youth, climate, and local news, thus becoming the voice of underrepresented communities.
The list of the 10 news startups includes The Mooknayak, Queerbeat, SouthLive, Democratic Charkh, Medical Dialogues, Feminism In India, Ground Report, Pratidhvani, Telugupost, and Truescoop. These startups are set to embark on a transformative journey through the GNI Startup Lab, contributing to the evolution of journalism in India.
Google also highlighted the successful conclusion of the GNI Indian Languages Program, which engaged over 300+ publishers to modernize their online presence, enhancing user experiences across web, app, and video formats. The program aims to make content more accessible to users while helping publishers increase digital ad revenue. The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with significant improvements reported in their online platforms.
Launched in January 2021, The Mooknayak has rapidly emerged as a leading media platform, surpassing contemporaries in the Bahujan media landscape. Operating in both Hindi and English, the platform has garnered a wide readership in India and abroad. Focused on shedding light on injustices, exclusions, fights for rights, and the achievements of marginalized communities, The Mooknayak amplifies voices often overlooked by mainstream media.
Despite limited resources, The Mooknayak has successfully reached communities overlooked by traditional media. Its mission is to provide a platform for historically marginalized individuals, particularly from SC, ST, Economically Weaker Sections, and minority communities, emphasizing grassroots-level outreach.
The Mooknayak's exceptional work has been recognized with prestigious awards. In 2022, it received the Human Rights Religious Freedom Best Media Organization Award and the "Mooknayak" Excellence in Journalism Award from the Ambedkar Association of North America.
Founder Meena Kotwal's unique perspective, viewing journalism through a feminist and anti-caste lens, sets The Mooknayak apart. In 2022, Meena was individually honoured with the Streekal Journalism Award for advancing Dr. Ambedkar's heritage journalism. The organization aims to bridge the gap between marginalized caste communities and newsrooms by mentoring journalism graduates from oppressed groups.
With a focus on building caste and gender-based representation, The Mooknayak strives to create a more inclusive and equitable media landscape. By leveraging expertise and passion, the platform continues its mission to empower marginalized voices and drive positive change in the media industry.